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Iowa West Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-03-29

At A Glance

Iowa West Foundation

25 Main Pl., Ste. 550

Council Bluffs, IA United States 51503-0700

Telephone: (712) 309-3000


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $383,348,976

Total giving: $15,015,499






Established in 1992 in IA, began grant operations in 1994 - The Iowa West Foundation is funded by the nonprofit Iowa West Racing Association. The Iowa West Racing Association was officially formed in 1984, and the Iowa West Foundation was established in 1994 as a private foundation. The organizations came about because Iowa passed laws requiring gaming licenses to be either held or sponsored by nonprofit organizations. The association is a licensed sponsor for two casino operators. It receives licensing fees and distributes those funds to the foundation for grants

Purpose and Activities

The mission of the foundation is to improve lives and strengthen communities for present and future generations. The foundation strives to provide leadership, create partnerships, leverage resources and serve as a catalyst in identifying and supporting community needs. The foundation has a special interest in the areas of community development and beautification, economic development, education, and human and social needs. Current focus includes assisting local schools to reduce the dropout rate, and to improve neighborhoods in Pottawattamie County, IA.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

College Access Program (CAP)

The foundation has funded a College Access Program (CAP) in Council Bluffs high schools to assist students with getting on a track for higher education. Annually, 25 ninth-grade students will be accepted into the new four year program, and on their completion of CAP, they will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. They will also be given priority status for the Iowa West Opportunity Scholarship Program. For more information, contact Council Bluff High Schools.

Community Development and Beautification

A high priority is given to community development projects that encourage neighborhood revitalization and create more livable neighborhoods, as well as improving downtowns and community main streets. Proposals that improve the quality of life and enhance the image and/or appearance of communities will be seriously considered. Priority will be given to projects of quality urban design that improve public spaces along the Missouri Riverfront, in downtown Council Bluffs, at the Mid-America Center are, and along primary and secondary traffic corridors identified in the Council Bluffs Corridor Master Plan. Another priority is improving the quality of life through a community-wide public art initiative called Iowa West Public Art.

Economic Development

An important community goal is to retain or create family wage jobs that will result in increase economic self-sufficiency for area families and residents. The foundation's primary economic development role is to serve as a catalyst by building the capacity of the public and the nonprofit sectors to effectively plan and manage economic development projects. A special focus is partnering with local government and the nonprofit sector to support ongoing economic development projects at the Mid-America Center in order to create a major tourist and visitor destination for the region. Proposals to support infrastructure improvements for rural communities within Pottawattamie County are not considered directly by the foundation, but are referred to the Pottawattamie County CITIES Fund (Community Improvements to Increase Economic Stability).


The foundation has an interest in new and innovative programs that promote life-long learning, academic performance, and workforce preparation. Early childhood educational programs and quality daycare programs that address underserved age groups and serve children from economically and educationally disadvantaged families in Pottawattamie County will be considered. The foundation does not accept K-12 proposals from individual schools or school districts without the approval of the local area education agency.

Human and Social Needs

The foundation places a high priority on new and innovative programs that strengthen families, address the needs of underserved youth, provide services to senior citizens, and help our citizens to reach their potential. Examples of such programs include proposals that address the following: homeless transitional housing needs; the high incidence of teenage pregnancy; the lack of availability of prenatal care; and chemical dependency issues, especially the increase in the region of methamphetamine use. Collaboration between various partners to meet human and social needs is strongly recommended.

Iowa West Opportunity Scholarships

This program will give 25 scholarships funded annually by Iowa West at $4,000. For example, if a student would complete four years of college, the student would receive the funding each year resulting in a scholarship of $16,000 or $8,000 for two years. College Access Program students will be given preference in this competitive scholarship program with other higher needs students in the district, who plan to go to college. Visit foundations web site for more information.

Fields of Interest

  • Community and economic development
  • Education
  • Human services
Population Groups
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $383,348,976 (market value)

Gifts received: $8,871,318

Expenditures: $20,721,067

Total giving: $15,015,499

Qualifying distributions: $16,938,226

Giving activities include:

$14,570,405 for grants

$445,094 for 1 foundation-administered program